Question About Nikon F4s Focus Confirmation

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The focus confirmation in using manual lenses on the F4s I had seemed rather loose and inexact. I ended up returning the camera because it had LCD bleed, and I am thinking of getting another F4s, but I want to be certain that it offers good focus confirmation with manual focus lenses. Again, it was difficult to get the confirmation dot to be steady, and thus the readout would keep toggling between the dot and the arrow indicators. Did I have a bad F4s or is this just the way the F4s is? In comparison, I had no problem getting a confirmation dot in my manual focusing with the N90s.

    I like having the aperture displayed in the finder, and thus I would prefer having the F4s over the N90s...but only if I can regularly achieve proper focus manually.
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    All of my Nikon cameras have that feature and all behave similarly. It's not a pin-point accuracy kind of thing. Using most lens, there are quite a range where the focus confirmation stays lit. Also, unless I keep the camera very steady, it flickers. I really don't like using manual focus lens because of it. I much prefer split prism type focus screens.
     
  3. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Utah Valley
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In my experience, the F4's electronic rangefinder is pin-point accurate. The reason you see "flickering" or "toggling" between the green dot and the red arrows is that even tiny, minute movements of either the camera or focusing ring are detectable by the extremely sensitive rangefinder. High-end Nikon bodies with electronic rangefinders with both arrow and dot indicators are more sensitive and therefore more accurate than
    bodies with a single green dot.

    My F4 is better at manual focusing than I am, even when I'm using a split-prism.
     
  4. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Auckland, Ne
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I find it very accurate, similar to LJSLATER's post. Also, when i have the K type split prism screen installed, the two systems agree with each other.
     
  5. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Interesting comments. I had thought that I have been better using the split microprism. However, I have never done a side-by-side comparison. I wonder if it is mostly a matter of eyesight?
     
  6. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

    Messages:
    276
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Location:
    Yukon, OK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I found I could use the indicators but was spending most of my time concentrating on them and not on the photo, so I got a TC-16A teleconverter. As long as I have the light available (I use it mainly outdoors), all it takes is a quick "get it in the ballpark" focus adjustment and the teleconverter does all the autofocusing for you.

    Just can't see and focus like I used to. I love many of the MF primes I have but simply could not keep a moving target (or even a slow moving target for that matter) in focus when using any of those old wonderful lenses. I would recommend you at least look at the TC-16A if you are having difficulties focusing the MF lenses. The autofocus system of my F4S has always been very "fine tuning" happy. It always picks up the smallest of movement and tries to adjust. I don't believe you are seeing anything out of the ordinary with yours.....

    Bob E.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,508
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do find a split prism easier when manually focussing, because I don't have change where I'm looking, but both systems are very accurate.

    When hand holding it is a challenge to center up the focus area on the subject and hold the camera there while then looking for the focus conformation. If you put the F4 on a tripod, the problem goes away; you will be able to get a very stable dot/reading as long as what you are focussing on has good contrast.
     
  8. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

    Messages:
    276
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Location:
    Yukon, OK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mark, excellent point about tripod use. I really need to start using it more, I assume the more you use it the more you become comfortable with dragging it around too. Would you recommend perhaps the addition of a monopod for those times when you want to use a tripod but need as close to hand held speed (for kiddie action in my case)?

    Bob E.
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,508
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm a big fan of monopods for any kind of quick, highly mobile shooting situation. When I was shooting weddings regularly the camera was on the monopod ~85-90% of the time, maybe 5-10% on the tripod, only the left overs were shot hand held.

    The thing that's truly sweet for kiddie action though is bounce flash from a nice strobe.
     
  10. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

    Messages:
    276
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Location:
    Yukon, OK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mark, thanks for the invaluable information on monopods AND how you specifically use them.....another thing to put on the list.

    I do seem to recall, but never really realized it, that one out of the two wedding photographers the wife and daughter hired to do the daughter's wedding with used a monopod. I think I was crying about what a nice Hassey setup I could have for what was spent on that wedding!!

    I will tell you generally I do put a small strobe on top of the camera when chasing around the kids. They tend to look at me like I am crazy when I pull out the Metz 60 or the old Canon potato mashers (which I absolutely love) and chase them around. They are becoming more used to me stalking them when it's "photo" time. I got the Gary Fong thing but found I liked simply moving the head around my SB-28 (or the Metz) to be easier and the results were good enough for the candid kid stuff mainly for family members.

    Bob E.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,508
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Fong thing, and it's cousins, are reasonable tools when there's not much to bounce off.

    Like you my preference is to spin the head on the strobe. I've got SB90's.